Here’s what’s happening in the SEC this weekend:
A possible battle of the backups: Starting quarterbacks Connor Shaw and James Franklin are penciled in right now as the starters as their teams meet on Saturday. Shaw has been dealing with a throwing shoulder scapula fracture, while Franklin has inflammation in his throwing shoulder that is considered to be non-structural. One hit, and both of these guys could be forced out of the game. Backups Dylan Thompson and Corbin Berkstresser could see some action, and both are 1-0 as starters this season. Missouri is hungry to get its first SEC victory, behind a better-than-average defense, and South Carolina is toting the #7 ranking with pride. It seems like South Carolina always loses a game they are favored to win, and could this be it? Missouri, however, has a good shot at pulling the upset.
Trap games: Two trap games take center stage this weekend when Florida hosts Kentucky and Georgia hosts Vanderbilt. Obviously the Bulldogs and Gators are supposed to dominate these games, but could any two of the underdogs sneak out with a victory? It’s not likely but not impossible. Florida hasn’t really turned on their game until the second half, and neither has Georgia. Both teams have started slow through three games, and if either Kentucky or Vanderbilt can somehow get ahead early and keep the two favorites playing catchup, they have a shot. I just want to see James Franklin and Todd Grantham in a cage match after the game at midfield.
Showdown on the Plains: LSU-Auburn isn’t as sexy as years past, but the road team has hasn’t fared too well in this particular game. The home team is 11-1 in the past 12 meetings, and that should at least give AU some hope. But the facts are this – Auburn has the league’s worst rushing defense, while LSU has the SEC’s best rushing offense, racking up over 200 yards per game on the ground. LSU will bring their smash mouth team into Jordan Hare and try to escape with a victory. Every week in the SEC is unknown, and you can’t just pencil in a win. You know this.
Conference pride: Arkansas could be in trouble this weekend against Big East member Rutgers. It all revolves around Tyler Wilson and his health. It’s simple. He plays; Arkansas wins. But Rutgers is no slouch. The Scarlet Knights are entering with a 3-0 record and a bad attitude to prove they can beat an SEC team. Arkansas has to find some way to SMILE! and dig down deep to find a running game. Knile Davis and Dennis Johnson have been non-existent so far this season. The Hogs are dead last in the SEC in rushing with two of the best backs in the league. Go figure.
Smacking around the baby seals: Several teams around the SEC will be dominating bottom dwellers. Texas A&M plays South Carolina State, Mississippi State takes on South Alabama, and Bama plays host to FAU. You can go ahead and write down three wins for the SEC. Johnny Manziel will have a field day against South Carolina State, and Mississippi State will continue to roll against South Alabama. Alabama will be going for its third straight shutout, and FAU even helped them with that this week by running their mouths. Please don’t pick on the giant. It doesn’t end well.
Getting back on track: Two teams looking to get back on track after bad losses a week ago are Tennessee and Ole Miss. Tennessee hosts Akron, while Ole Miss travels to Tulane. The Vols virtually quit in the second half against the Gators only down a couple scores. Tyler Bray has taken quite a bit of criticism this week from several folks, and it’s time he turns the page and matures as a leader. That starts against Akron. Tennessee must gain some confidence before heading to Georgia the next week. Ole Miss was shellacked against Texas, giving up 66 points. But the Rebels have a few signs of life, namely their offense led by QB Bo Wallace. Wallace has played well, along with running back Jaylen Walten, to give this team a formidable offensive attack. Bowl eligibility could become possible, but they must win against Tulane.